Welcome to the "heat wave" today that we are experiencing around the region! The temps have "soared" upwards by some six to seven degrees in some locations this morning compared to 24 hours ago.
I heard from several people on Wednesday about how much warmer the day was than we’ve experienced lately. I’d echo that. I was out at my horses around 4:30pm and the sun was shining after seeing snow most of the day for the umpteenth day in a row. The wind wasn’t blasting and I had no coat on, my sleeves were pushed up and I had my window down as I pulled up to the farm gate to navigate my way up through the deep snow at the foot of Beech Mountain. Man it felt great!
The temperature? 14°!
After experiencing several days of zero to 10° readings and wind chills in the sub zero range, that 14° with no wind felt great. Of course as it usually happens around the mountains – just thirty minutes later, the skies clouded back up and you could see the next wave of weather moving in and it got frigid again. Oh yea, the wind picked back up and by the time I threw out a couple of bales of hay my fingers were throbbing from the cold temps!
This morning as I began looking around at the temps across the region – the wind isn’t blowing like it has been lately and the temps around the area look "mild" compared to those of the last few days. We might even see a high in the mid 20s for today at many locations around the Southeast and Mid Atlantic! (Most of the higher elevations will stay in the teens.)
That isn’t going to last long as snow is already moving back in to portions of our coverage area and anywhere from 6" to 10" to 16" is forecasted for many of the ski areas as we move through today and through the weekend! Unfortunately the winds are forecasted to kick back up with sustained winds in the 15-25 mph range gusting to 45 mph.
The conditions, no matter where you might head this weekend, will be AWESOME in terms of surface conditions with POWDER the word of the weekend – again. Things will be challenging for many novice to intermediate skiers as the heavy winds will create some icy conditions in many locations where this powdery snow will be blown off the snow pack. Wind chills will AGAIN be an issue so be sure to wear layers and don’t allow any skin to be exposed as the temperatures are expected to dive again as this next couple of storm systems move through the Southeast and MidAtlantic.
Some might argue that we’re attempting to scare you guys away from heading to the mountains and NOTHING is further from the truth. If you think about it – ISN’T THIS WHAT WE WANT???! We want cold temps (we have them), we want snow (good gracious we have that) and we want all of the slopes and trails to be open with good conditions and if you watch where you’re skiing there will be PLENTY of powder skiing available.
We simply want to make sure that those of you who are not used to the kind of weather we’re experiencing and will experience this weekend – to be prepared. Come with good gloves, wear layers, cover your face and head and you’ll enjoy the heck out of what is certainly some of the best snow we’ve seen in years! If you are properly "geared up" you’ll have a great time! If not, you’ll be miserable!
Pay a quick visit to your local ski and snowboard shop and if you don’t have one in your neck of the woods, stop by one near the ski area you’re heading to and just "gear up". Good gloves and a balaclava will make your day much more enjoyable and it won’t break the bank. If you’ve been thinking of purchasing a helmet, let me recommend that this would be a great time to do so as helmets not only protect your skull, they are great for keeping your head and ears nice and toasty.
TODAY would be a GREAT day to hit the slopes. Right now the temps are perfect, there’s no winds to speak of and there’s great conditions no matter where you look.
UPDATING THE SNOW REPORT….
You KNOW it’s been a snowy stretch when one of the first things I’ve been doing within my morning routine is checking the cocorah’s snow reporting network! We’ve seen measureable snowfall every day for the last 12 days across the region and more is coming in today. As mentioned before, areas up into West Virginia are already seeing more snow, and one look at the radar tells us that we’ll start seeing it at most of the ski resorts by mid afternoon.
Most areas of the region are looking at 4-6" of snow from today through Saturday with isolated higher amounts. Some of the more snow-prone areas such as Sugar & Beech in North Carolina could see about 4-8" more than that. As has been the case lately, ski areas in West Virginia should see 4-8" of snow today, 3-5" more on Friday and more Friday night through Saturday night. They are easily expecting 10-16" of snow up that way as Brad Panovich previously forecasted!
We’ll get you some photo of the day and video updates later in the day and once we start seeing the heavy snow again, we’ll update you guys. For now, here are some notables:
Beech Mountain Resort is hosting their annual Winterfest weekend that starts technically on Friday evening with the premier of "Dynasty", Warren Miller’s movie that is hosted by Lees-McCrae College.
Saturday is when MOST of the "good stuff" happens. Marketing Director, Talia Freeman had asked me to be a judge in the bathing beauty contest and you can’t KNOW how disappointed I am that I won’t be able to be there for that! I will be trudging through the two feet of powder up at Snowshoe’s Annual Media Weekend with a dozen or so television and media reps…as well as my buddies Laura Parquette, Bill Rock, Craig Low, and Ed Schneider…among others.
The activities at Beech should be even more interesting than normal with the frigid temps and cold winds. We’ll have a couple of SkiNCers there and hopefully they will behave!
Here’s the events we are aware of:
9am – 3:30pm – Extreme Sports Consumer Demo with 4frnt Atomic Fischer and many more!
11:30 to 1:30pm – Nesquick Bathing Beauty Competition with a $1,000 cash prize, Live radio broadcast from Kiss 95.1 with MC Yankee Pete, Live Music and Cookout on View Haus Deck
2pm – Summit Figure Skating Club Exhibition. Instruction by the summit figure skating club offered all day at the ice rink.
Performances throughout the day by the Mini Mountaineers and the High Country Dance Studio in the Beech Tree Bar and Grille.
4:30pm – Village Rail Jam – music, food, tons of prizes
6:30pm – Standard Films "Black Winter" showing in the Beech Tree Bar and Grille
8pm -Live Music in the Beech Tree Bar and Grille
**Face Painting, Big Glove Boxing, Inflatibles***
Sunday, January 10th 2010
9am to 3:30 pm – Extreme Sports Consumer Demo with 4frnt Atomic Fischer and many more!
11:30am -Exhibition by the summit figure skating club
12:30pm – Cardboard Box Judging by the Ice Skating Rink
2pm – Cardboard Box Derby-Tons of Prizes!!
3:30pm – Edge of the World Big Air Competition
*Bathing Beauty registration 9am to 11pm Saturday in Administration
*CB box derby registration 9am to 11pm Sunday in Administration
Appalachian Ski Mountain has dropped a few trails today so that they can focus some hard core, dedicated snow making on them. The trails closed today will be Hard Core, Thin Slice, Appaljack and AppalTop. They will all reopen on Friday.
Wolf Ridge – They have opened the connecting tunnel and more slopes today. Rick Bussey writes, "Its Thursday morning at the Wolf and the sky is clear. With a heat wave of 20 degrees we are excited to announce that we will have 17 fantastic runs open today including our very own Breakaway ski through tunnel slope. This slope has been custom shaped and groomed to include the the most incredible hills and mounds you will ride. Boarders you wanted a terrain Park; Come tackle this slope!!! See you at the Wolf."
Hawksnest Zip Lining and Snow Tubing – They did not open again on Wednesday due to "conditions not favorable for snow tubing". We received a couple of emails from people not too happy with driving up there only to find them closed. Evidently it wasn’t too unfavorable for Beech, Cat, Sugar, Wolf, Bryce, Massanutten, The Homestead, Winterplace, Snowshoe, Wisp and Sapphire to operate their tubing parks.
Sugar Mountain isn’t even reporting the nearly one-half inch of snow that fell on Wednesday. They are 100% open today and today is a snow day for Watauga County kids who are still out of school, including my daughter Carrigan who will be chillin with Dakota Bauer there today. Those two always have a great time on the slopes and "yes" I’m jealous of not being able to join them today. Avery County kids are IN SCHOOL today for the first time since before Christmas. With the snow coming back in today, Avery school admins must have just wanted to see the kids for a couple of hours to make sure they remembered their names!
Ober Gatlinburg ski area is 100% open for the first time in a couple of years! They now have all eight trails open as well as tubing and ice skating with great conditions and snow in their forecast as well.
Snowshoe Mountain picked up another 4" of snow but somehow jumped their season snow total by 7" to 91". There’s been a ton of snow lately but we think the 4" on Wednesday takes them to 88" on the season. They’ve had an amazing 28" of snow since January 1st and another foot or more is forecasted for Snowshoe today through the weekend.
Laura Parquette writes, "Lower Shay’s Revenge will open sometime before noon today! It will also be left ungroomed.** *** Powderridge Lift will have a delayed 10am opening for routine maintenance. This will delay some slope openings, please pay attention to Snowshoe signage and personnel. *** 4 more new inches of snow fell overnight last night, bringing our total snowfall accumulation to 28 inches in 2010. The forecast is calling for another 6 to 10 inches of new snowfall tonight, as well as another 3 to 5 inches for tomorrow. We have had 12 days of snow in a row up here at Snowshoe! Not bad, Mother Nature! What are you waiting for? Get in your car and get up here! We’ve also left some slopes ungroomed today, so enjoy the powder on these trails… Grabhammer, Lower Ballhooter, Skier’s Right Lower Cupp, and of course Lower Shay’s Revenge. Our famous Western Territory is now 100% open! Enjoy our groomed, packed powder conditions! We do have some slopes closed today for cocentrated daytime snowmaking. These slopes should reopen tomorrow."
Wintergreen Resort is in great shape with 25 trails and they posted these comments regarding terrain parks and tubing:
The Plunge will open today with sessions from 2pm – 9pm. Buy tickets on the web ahead of time if you want to take advantage of this great winter activity. Tickets for The Plunge or Ridgely’s Fun Park can be purchased over the web right now Click here. Ridgely’s Fun Park will be open Saturday’s, Sunday’s and the 2 Monday holidays, bring your little ones up here for some great family fun.
Terrain Park: The progression park includes: 2 – 10’ boxes, A-frame rail, corrugated pipe with hip, pole jam, small rainbow, 15’ short fat rail, 15’ table top, wedge jump, 20’ box and a flat down rail. The Advanced Park includes: cannon jump, 30ft wedge jump, two 20ft tabletops, step up jump and a down flat rail. THE ADVANCED PARK WILL REMAIN CLOSED TODAY SO WE CAN PUSH AND SHAPE NEW FEATURES IN PREPARATION FOR RE-OPENING TOMORROW.
Canaan Valley is back to 100% open with all 39 trails. They write, "Perfect Conditions, Lowest Prices, & No Lift Lines and we have 39 trails open, including the renowned Darkside of the Moon. Our tube park is also open and the natural snow is providing excellent conditions for cross-country skiing."
Winterplace Resort has been getting more snow than they’ve seen in recent years. Another 5" has fallen in the last 24 hours and they are in perfect shape headed into the weekend with 22 of 28 trails and their great tubing park.
That’s it for the day!
You can check the snow reports for all of the ski resorts of West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee and North Carolina via http://www.skisoutheast.com/skireports.php as well as
videos, photos and more.
Send your comments, videos, photos, trip reports and questions to: [email protected]
SSAA: 0 for 40/app5"NOT/saphopenNOT/bryce7EIGHT/can3839+nightNOW/timb3034/ ///self 39/40